How do African animals see?

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by timbear, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. timbear

    timbear AH Enthusiast

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    Fritz Rabe's thread on smoke and the discussion of animal senses has made me think about this question. Deer are proven to be able to see into the ultraviolet range, and can thus spot clothes washed with normal washing powder, because all of them contain fabric brighteners that make them shine like a "black light" in the old discos in their eyes. For this reason, I wash my hunting clothes separately with non-brightening detergents.
    They also are unable to see much in color, which is why I like to wear blaze orange camo while hunting (Friendly fire - isn't!). Actually, a good way of testing deer hunting camo is to take black-and-white photos of it in the bush, for that's how the deer see you.
    It would be interesting to find out if African animals see the same way.
  2. Hotfire Hunting Safaris

    Hotfire Hunting Safaris AH Veteran

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    Timbear,

    If you look up Zarco Camo, they have blue camo, they have a couple of thoughts on this topic. I have heard about game seeing into the ultraviolite colour range.
  3. Stretch

    Stretch AH Fanatic

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    Another interesting topic. It is a fact that animals do not see the world as we see it. Some people believe that the color or pattern of camouflage has the same appearance to animals that it has to a human. What we see makes absolutely no difference at all. It is what game see that is important, and their eyes are designed to see UV as brilliant bright glow. In low light and darkness, animals see in black and white and are tens of thousands of times more sensitive to ultraviolet and blue wavelengths than humans. After all, animals can run through the woods at night without bumping into trees. In daylight, animals see Ultraviolet and blue light as blue, but thousands of times brighter than we see it because the sensitivity of their blue cones is not reduced by the presence of a UV filter. Instead of the way we see colors, animals see green, yellow, orange, red, and brown all as shades of yellow because deer have no red cones. Ultraviolet brighteners gather energy from light over a wide range of wavelengths and reradiate that energy in a very powerful narrow band that corresponds almost exactly with the peak of sensitivity of most game animals blue cones and their more numerous rods. This results in an unnaturally bright blue or white glow, brighter than the blue sky, or white snow. Most camouflage, blaze orange, light colored clothes, and standard laundry detergents all contain UV brighteners. Weather one believes in this or not, using UV killer and detergents without UV brighteners allows me to hunt with buoyancy and optimism that I am doing what I can to increase my odds.
  4. Fritz Rabe

    Fritz Rabe AH Veteran

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    Nice topic.
    We in Africa are lucky that we do not have to worry about "friendly fire" so much because if you are going to get shot then you are anyhow so close to the person that camo clothing is the least of your worries.

    Zarco did a lot of extensive work with their clothes and it all holds true for what they advertize. The reality is somewhat different. If there were no primates or birds present then you would just be invisible wearing Zarco while hunting.
    Some birds and all primates see in full-color. There are numerous Monkeys and Baboons in most of Africa as well as numerous species of birds that get prayed upon. They all serve as early warning devices when hunting and a human in the bush is the one thing that they will advertize to all.

    This makes the Zarco camo a bit to obvious in my opinion. I do believe that movement is the biggest factor to think about while stalking though. I have stalked a herd of Impala close enough to shoot with a bow on more than one occasion wearing nothing more than shorts, shoes and a T-shirt. I must however say that it took hours to get that close and it did not work every time.

    I personally also think that the type of camo that you wear does more for the hunter,s confidence and therefor he/she will do better.
  5. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Never considered birds seeing colour here at home being an issue Fritz.
    Interesting thought.
  6. Fritz Rabe

    Fritz Rabe AH Veteran

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    Unfortunately we do have the problem over here. Go-away birds, Francolin, Guineyfowl, Oxpeckers etc all serve as guards to numerous game species. They can sometimes help you to find animals as well like when hunting Buffalo you know that you are closing up on them when you hear the familiar chirping of the Oxpeckers.

    Mostly they are a pain because you try and get close to an already shy animal and they do not help.

    I suspect that in the States it would be like trying to stalk a Deer with a flock of Turkeys in the way. :confused:
  7. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Red Squirrels and Merriams Turkeys can cause you some issues stalking up here in Canada where we have them.

    I have never noticed Magpies or Crows being used as alarm indicators for other animals except predators on a carcass.
    These would be the ones I would wonder about colour vision in though.

    Go-away birds were bad enough. I was very tempted to open a personal air gun season on several occasions.
  8. Stretch

    Stretch AH Fanatic

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    The color of plumage on many birds should clue us how they see color. Ever watch the colors change on the head of a NA wild turkey? When frightened it turns a brilliant red. When sexually aroused it turns lucent blueish white. The feathers display multiple colors that appear incandescent in sunlight. Most Birds, with a few major exceptions, are blessed by superior visual acuity. They all have three-cone classes that we humans possess for full color vision. Their acuity exceeds ours, and having no UV filter, they are sensitive to all the UV. Combined with oil droplets in the eye, this enables them to see the effects of UV brighteners. Except for blue and Ultraviolet, all birds see colors quite similar to how we see them. Birds are natures danger alarms and have warned more than one animal of lurking perils. Bluejays, robins, chickadees and ruffed grouse are all good at announcing my presence here in the states. By using alarm calls bird let the predator know it has been sighted. Having lost the advantage of surprise, the predator may decide to give up. Alarm calls also warn other birds. We humans are predators and nature treats us as such.
  9. timbear

    timbear AH Enthusiast

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    I remember that in NZ a lot of West Coast hunts were spoiled by Keas - they are the world's only high mountain parrot but also found at low altitudes. They are incredibly curious and noisy. Having spotted a hunter, they will follow him for a long time, all the while making a veritable cacophony and calling in all their siblings, aunties, uncles, second cousins twice removed and Grandma Kea to the party! Of course they are protected, but the urge to blast away at them is at times almost insurmountable! I have missed out on a fair few deer due to the little buggers! Oh, BTW, they also enjoy stripping the rubber off your windshield wipers.

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